Updated 18 May 2023.
Traffic in central Adelaide was brought to a standstill on Wednesday morning as an Extinction Rebellion activist abseiled off the Morphett St bridge.
The protest took place outside of the Adelaide Convention Centre, where the Australian Petroleum & Exploration Association (APPEA) conference is currently being held.
The activist, Mémé Thorne, was removed and taken into custody, where she was charged with disrupting traffic and causing a public nuisance. Thorne remained in position over the bridge for 1.5 hours.
In a statement, Thorne said she was “prepared to take direct action” as she has “been deeply troubled by the escalating climate crisis for years”.
“[I] hoped that the science behind the warnings to stop fuelling the crisis would guide our response.”
“However, our state and federal government response has been half-hearted and their continuing subsidisation of the fossil fuel industry is sealing the fate of our world as we know it.”
The action this morning marks a major escalation in protest tactics used by activist groups in South Australia – along with the judicial response – with one activist, who chose to remain anonymous, describing it as “entering uncharted territory”.
In response to protest actions this week, the South Australian state government has rushed through anti protest legislation, similar to anti protest laws in New South Wales and Victoria, which imposes fines up to $50,000 and possible three-month jail terms where a person “intentionally or recklessly obstructs the free passage of a public place”.